NATO is strengthening the alliance’s activity in the Arctic due to the Russian presence. This statement was made by the organization’s general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, at an online meeting organized by Stanford University.
Stoltenberg noted that earlier it was believed that the level of tension in the High North was low, but now the situation has changed. At the same time, the NATO Secretary General added that the alliance and Russia in the Arctic maintain a high level of cooperation.
“NATO is present in the Arctic, and as part of the expansion of our alliance in recent years, we have strengthened our presence there. We understand that the strategic importance of the Arctic has increased in part due to global warming, because the melting ice means an increase in the area of neutral waters, and also because of the increased Russian presence, ”Stoltenberg said at the event, which was recorded on the NATO website.
The NATO secretary general added that Russia’s military strengthening in the Arctic is a cause for concern for the alliance.
On February 24, the head of the European Command of the US Armed Forces, General Tod Walters, at the Air Force Association Forum said that Russia and China “continue to militarize the Arctic” and are trying to create an economic foothold for regional influence.
Earlier, on February 3, the Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry for International Cooperation in the Arctic Nikolai Korchunov said that the level of military threats in the Arctic is currently low. At the same time, the diplomat drew attention to the frequent exercises of NATO countries in the region with the involvement of non-Arctic states. However, according to him, there are no fears of any armed conflict.
On January 19, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Sereide, during which he drew attention to the deteriorating security situation in the High North. In his opinion, the buildup of military activity by Norway, the advancement of NATO infrastructure to the Russian borders are fraught with negative consequences for the Arctic.